RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 2 (UPI) — A former U.S. Army master sergeant argues the military court that convicted him of killing a woman and two children in 1986 had no jurisdiction over the case.
Timothy Hennis, who was sentenced to death for the triple homicide, was convicted of the killings in Fayetteville, N.C., and then acquitted after winning an appeal. He was retried after a detective in 2006 linked him to the crime through DNA testing.
Hennis was court-martialed because the Fifth Amendment’s double jeopardy provision banned North Carolina from trying him again, ABC News reports. His lawyers are scheduled to argue in October to a federal appeals court that the court-martial was unconstitutional.
Kathryn Eastburn, the wife of Air Force Capt. Gary Eastburn, and two of their children were found dead in their home near Fort Bragg. Prosecutors said Hennis, who had received a dog from the Eastburns several days earlier, had broken in, raped and killed Eastburn and then killed the children.
After his acquittal, Hennis returned to the military, serving in the First Gulf War. He retired in 2004 but was ordered to return to active duty to be tried.
Hennis is now on death row at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. While several people have been sentenced to death by courts-martial, the military has not held an execution since 1961.